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Shriek

Shriek.

 

A blood curling scream drifted through the air as the hunter’s scythe left a harrowing hole in the wraith’s torso. He fixed his hat and flourished his trench coat. His boots were wet from the moisture of the soil as he made his way through darkened woods. An old town, cloaked in mist, revealed itself to the hunter as he broke the treeline. Shouts and screams floated around the town as if the mist itself was in agony. He drew his scythe once again from his back, and spun it in one hand as he stepped into the streets. He passed a heavy iron gate that remained wide open, welcoming the dark forces that hid beyond.

 

Wraiths roamed freely, drifting over the bodies of their – now – dead victims. They seemed hollow, a floating cloak with nothing but bleak emptiness in the sleeves and under the hood. The hunter pulled the hat down over his eyes, held a lantern in one hand, and pressed onward. The wraiths whispered in the shadows, their hoarse voices dancing across the shadows, yet the town felt eerily empty. A scream. Closer, and closer it came. It was charging like an angered bull. The hunter ducked under the swipe of one of the wraiths that attempted to remove his cranium from his body. His coat fluttered behind him, windswept across the ground. The hunter stood, lashed his scythe out and felt the cold steel grab the wraiths neck. With all his strength he pulled against the spirit’s momentum, severing the head of the creature from its body. The hunter stood and dusted himself down, clipping the lantern to his belt. He fingered his scythe, feeling for marks or imperfections. A dark, smoke like aura surrounded the deceased wraith’s ethereal body. The hunter lifted the scythe onto his shoulder and pushed onward.

 

He stopped at the cathedral, its stone structure loomed overhead. He knew his prey awaited him inside, and so swallowed his fear and steeled his resolve. He opened the two huge wooden doors and bathed in the dark hue of moonlight that shone through the single circular window above. The hunter walked through the silent halls, and stepped up to the altar. His gloved hands, encased in leather, brushed against ancient engravings. Dust collected upon his fingertips.

 

Without warning, the doors behind him slammed shut, allowing a gust of air to blow out his lantern and cause the tail of his worn and ragged coat to flutter. The light that sprinkled through the doorway had retreated. Across window above, that allowed a spotlight of beautiful azure light to sprinkle in through the circular view. All light blotted out for a moment as a creature skittered across the window. Cold silence drifted through the room.

 

The window smashed and the majestic creature landed softly, barely making a sound. The light disappeared entirely, the hunter scrambled for a match, dropping the match box in the process. Silently he fell to his knees and used his hands as minesweepers, finally grabbing it and lighting his lantern. He held it up as he stood, only to stare into the creature’s empty, black, eyes. It snarled at him, before bringing its great claw into the air and slamming it into the hunter with enough force to send him smashing into the opposite wall. Broken and bruised, the hunter pulled himself to his feet. The lantern was still in his hand, the scythe, his back. He clipped the lantern to his hip once again, and felt the leather of his gloves as they stretched and scratched whilst his tightened his two handed grasp on his – now – drawn scythe, his grip on the weapon was talon like.

 

The soft silence clawed at the edges of the flickering flame that flittered at his hip. The creature broke the silence with a blood curling shriek, the hunter dived and rolled under the swipe, spinning the reaper in his hands as he came up, slicing at the underbelly of the beast. Blood splattered over the parish floors a luminous orange. The creature was now traceable as the luminous blood dripped from the open wound. The hunter pursued for a follow up attack, of which he only managed to glance its back legs; more luminous brazen liquid trickled down the beast.

 

The beast moved like no other creature he had hunted before. Like a wraith; it moved with an odd spirit-like sway to it, each step felt calculated, light. Like a dancer it moved with elegance, it was with that movement, plus the luminous blood, that the hunter realised what the creature he was hunting truly was.

 

A Ghoul. Ghouls were rare, and dangerous, but this one was special. From the wispy movement to its heightened aggression, it was noticed that the Ghoul possessed the soul of a wraith. A powerful wraith. The hunter, now aware of his enemy, moved quickly. He unclipped the lantern from his hip and threw it at where he thought the circular window was, for he knew the Ghoul had somehow blocked the light to turn the battle in his favour. The lantern smashed, and surely enough it set the cloak covering the spotlight ablaze. The hunter weaved in-between two more strikes, before the dark blue hue returned to the chamber, and the spotlight gave full view of the Ghoul’s horrific form. Its teeth were sharpened to a point, its eyes the blackest beads – far too small for its giant head, adding to the abomination. Its body, were it to stand, was large enough to touch the high ceiling of the parish. It adorned a ghost like ragged cloth around its neck that flittered in the draft. Noticing the light, the hunched creature only moved faster, determined to end the hunter’s life. It was no use with the light on his side, he ducked, hooked his scythe around the creature’s neck, and pulled down like a guillotine. The Ghoul’s shrieking head made a ‘thud’ sound as it cracked against the floor, and rolled to a stop. Its black beady eyes grew dull with every passing moment…

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